School of Medicine Research Excellence

Thursday 12 May 2022

Thursday, 12 May 2022

School of Medicine Research Excellence

Research at Scotland’s oldest university amongst the highest quality in the country.

Over 86% of research carried out by the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews is world-leading or internationally excellent, according to the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) published today (Thursday 12 May).

The REF – a detailed analysis of the research strengths of all UK universities – found that St Andrews excelled in a number of key research areas – including Medicine.

Dean of Medicine and Head of School, Professor David Crossman, said: “These are very encouraging results and an endorsement of our strategy of developing the school to achieve an excellent clinical research profile in collaboration with our university and NHS partners.

“The REF 2021 results outline the journey that the School of Medicine has been on to become a full clinical medical school. The results are gratifying in themselves, alongside our position in the National Student Survey and the recent re-establishment of degree medical awarding powers, they demonstrate our position as an established and growing school of medicine in the UK, with international excellence at its heart.”

The results for the School reveal an increase in impact scores, demonstrating not just the quality of the underlying research but also its practical value to patients.

REF found that the overall quality of research at St Andrews had increased by 5.7 % since the last assessment exercise in 2014.

St Andrews Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sally Mapstone FRSE said: “The overall quality of our research has increased significantly since the last REF in 2014, we have cause to celebrate the achievements of several of our Schools whose research is rated amongst the best in the UK, and the fact that over 88% of the research we produce in this small corner of Fife has been held to be world-leading or internationally excellent is a remarkable achievement.”

Although REF itself explicitly does not rank universities according to research strengths, the metrics it produces are widely used in the higher education sector and in the media to benchmark research performance.

According to these figures, using the method of Grade Point Average (GPA), St Andrews was ranked 3rd in Scotland and 28th in the UK, one of six Scottish universities ranked amongst the top 50 research institutions in the UK.

Research at the School of Medicine which REF judged to be world-leading included:

  • The global fight against tuberculosis. Developing global capacity to improve tuberculosis treatment by developing shorter, safer drug regimens, and improved diagnostics for monitoring treatment.
  • Arclight – development, evaluation and implementation of low-cost diagnostic and training tools for eye care
  • The strategic and policy impact of adolescent health research at national, European and international levels


Full details of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 is available via

University of St Andrews REF 2021 results are available at:

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